Sunday, October 09, 2005

Freeing your inner creative genius

It's not often I focus on the creative writing side of the AS/A2 English Language course, but as I'm busy getting in the zone to teach it next week, here's something for all you guys wondering where to even start looking for your inner creative genius.

The Scotsman, the English Speaking Union and the National Galleries of Scotland have teamed up to run a competition for aspiring writers. This involves writing a poem or short story based on any of the art works in the National Galleries. That may not seem much use at all if you live outside Scotland, but hold on because the idea is cool.

Art works can inspire us to find all kinds of stories, or starting points of stories, characters and settings, moods and ideas - stories that can be told in all kinds of forms - short stories, monologues, poems, plays, TV shorts... I for one have got my eye on a kinda Ricky Gervais style stand-up routine based on some of the famous paintings that appeal to my sense of humour.

But that's not all the potential. Galleries themselves are places in and for which many different kinds of writing have a place - audio guides to exhibitions, education packs for schools visits, exhibition reviews, lunchtime lectures. There are also zillions of potential feature articles if you can find an unusual or interesting angle. What does a museum guard do all day, exactly?... Which gallery gift shop has the weirdest gifts? Which gallery has the best virtual reality visit?

Check the stuff out below and get writing... Never been in an art gallery? Well, now's the time to try something new! Don't stress about knowing nothing about art. Just aim to pick one piece of art - either the one thing you'd most like to take home with you, or the one you'd most like to give to your best friend/worst enemy - and see what stories it tells. One hour max then head to the shop for a postcard of your selected item and the cafe for a cup of tea. Easy!

So which picture paints 1000 words for you?

UK art galleries


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